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Syriana
Directed by Stephen Gaghan
Produced by Michael Nozik
Jennifer Fox
Georgia Kacandes
Steven Soderbergh (exec.)
George Clooney (exec.)
Jeff Skoll (exec.)
Written by Stephen Gaghan
Starring Matt Damon
George Clooney
Amr Waked
Chris Cooper
Amanda Peet
William Hurt
Christopher Plummer
Tim Blake Nelson
Alexander Siddig
Mazhar Munir
Kayvan Novak
Music by Alexandre Desplat
Cinematography Robert Elswit
Editing by Tim Squyres
Studio Participant Productions
Section Eight
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) December 9, 2005
June 20, 2006 (DVD)
Running time 128 min.
Language English
Budget $50,000,000
Gross revenue $93,974,620

Syriana is a 2005 geopolitical thriller film written and directed by Stephen Gaghan, and executive produced by George Clooney, who also stars in the film with an ensemble cast. Gaghan's screenplay is loosely adapted from Robert Baer's memoir See No Evil. The film focuses on petroleum politics, and the global influence of the oil industry, whose political, economic, legal, and social effects are experienced by a CIA operative (George Clooney), an energy analyst (Matt Damon), a Washington attorney (Jeffrey Wright), and a young unemployed Pakistani migrant worker (Mazhar Munir) in an Arab country in the Persian Gulf.

As with Gaghan's screenplay for Traffic, Syriana uses multiple, parallel storylines, jumping from locations in Texas, Washington D.C., Switzerland, Spain, and Lebanon.

Clooney won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Agent Bob Barnes, and Gaghan's script was nominated by the Academy for Best Original Screenplay. As of April 20, 2006, the film grossed a total of $50.82 million in the U.S. box office and $42.9 million in the rest of the world, for a total of $93.73 million.

Contents

Plot

American energy giant Connex is losing control of key Middle-East oil fields in a kingdom ruled by the al-Subaai family. The emirate's foreign minister, Prince Nasir (Alexander Siddig) has granted natural-gas drilling rights to a Chinese company, greatly upsetting the American oil industry and the energy interests of the U.S. government. To compensate for its decreased production capacity, Connex initiates a shady merger with Killen, a smaller oil company which recently won the drilling rights to key oil fields in Kazakhstan. Connex-Killen ranks as the world's twenty-third largest economy, and American antitrust regulators at the Department of Justice (DOJ) have misgivings. The Washington law firm headed by Dean Whiting (Christopher Plummer) is hired to smooth the way for the merger. Bennett Holiday (Jeffrey Wright) is assigned to promote the impression of due diligence to the DOJ, alleviating any allegations of corruption.

Bryan Woodman (Matt Damon) is an energy analyst based in Geneva, Switzerland. Woodman's supervisor directs him to attend a private party hosted by the emir at his estate in Marbella, Spain to offer his company's services. At the party Woodman is prevented from speaking directly with the Emir due to illness. In the meantime, the emir's younger son, Prince Meshal Al-Subaai (Akbar Kurtha), is busy showing off the estate's many rooms and areas via remote controlled camera systems to Chinese oil executives. They fail to notice that a crack in one of the swimming pool area's underwater lights has made the water charged. When Woodman and all the other guests are brought to the pool area, Woodman's son jumps into the pool and is killed.

In reparation and out of sympathy for the loss of his son, Prince Nasir grants Woodman's company oil interests worth US$75 million, and Woodman gradually becomes his economic advisor. Prince Nasir is dedicated to the idea of progressive reform and understands that oil dependency is not sustainable in the long term; Nasir desires to utilize his nation's oil profits to diversify the economy and introduce democratic reforms, in sharp contrast to his father's repressive government, which has been supported by American interests. Woodman and his wife drift apart as he becomes more involved in working with the Prince and she even questions whether he is trading on the tragedy that took their son's life. Nasir hopes to succeed his father as emir, but his younger brother is willing to continue the status quo and American military presence and is chosen as the King's successor instead even though he's clearly unqualified to run a nation. Nasir plans a military coup, but American intelligence plans to assassinate him via a remote missile attack on his convoy.

Assassination storyline

Bob Barnes (George Clooney) is a veteran CIA Operations Officer trying to stop Middle Eastern illegal arms trafficking. While on assignment in Tehran to assassinate two Iranian arms dealers, Barnes notices that an anti-tank missile (really a Stinger MANPAD) intended to participate in the explosion was diverted to an Egyptian (Amr Waked). Barnes makes his superiors nervous by writing memos about the missile theft, and is subsequently reassigned to a desk job; however, unaccustomed to the political discretion required, he quickly embarrasses the wrong people by speaking his mind and is sent back to the field with the assignment of assassinating Prince Nasir. Prior to his reassignment, Barnes confides with his ex-CIA agent friend, Stan Goff (William Hurt), about returning to Lebanon and Goff advises him to clear his presence with Hezbollah so they know he is not acting against them. Barnes travels to Lebanon and obtains safe passage from a Hezbollah leader, and hires a mercenary named Mussawi (Mark Strong) to help kidnap and murder Nasir. But Mussawi has now become an Iranian agent and has Barnes kidnapped instead and tortured. The Hezbollah leader ultimately arrives at the scene of Barnes' torture in time to stop Mussawi from beheading Barnes.

When the CIA learns that Mussawi plans to broadcast its intention to kill Nasir, the agency seeks to distance itself by scapegoating Barnes and portraying him as a rogue agent. Whiting becomes worried, first about Barnes talking about the Nasir assassination plan, second that the coup that Nasir is organizing would have a greater likelihood of success, and thirdly that the assassination of Nasir by a Predator drone would be evident as an American hit. So, he has Barnes' passports revoked, locks him out of his computer at work and orders an investigation of him. But Barnes learns from Stan Goff that Whiting is responsible and makes threats against him and his family unless Whiting ensures a halt to the investigation and the release of Barnes' passports through his powerful political connections. Barnes eventually learns why he was portrayed as a rogue agent and approaches Prince Nasir's convoy to warn him of the assassination plan. As he arrives, the missile strikes and Nasir and his family, along with Barnes, are all killed in the explosion. Woodman survives the blast and makes his way home to his wife and son.

Pakistani migrant workers Saleem Ahmed Khan (Shahid Ahmed) and his son Wasim (Mazhar Munir) board a bus to go to work at a Connex refinery, only to discover that they have been laid off due to a Chinese company outbidding Connex for the rights to run that facility. Since the company has provided food and lodging, the workers face the threat of poverty and deportation due to their unemployed status. Wasim desperately searches for work. Wasim and his friend join an Islamic school to learn Arabic in an effort to improve their employment prospects. While playing soccer they meet a charismatic Islamic fundamentalist cleric (the very same Egyptian man who earlier stole Robert Barnes' anti-tank missile) who eventually leads them to execute a suicide attack on a Connex-Killen LNG tanker using a shaped-charge explosive from the missing Tehran missile.

Merger storyline

Bennett Holiday meets with U.S. Attorney Donald Farish III (David Clennon), who is convinced that Killen bribed someone to get the drilling rights in Kazakhstan. While investigating Connex-Killen's records, Holiday discovers a wire transfer of funds that is traced back to a transaction between Danny Dalton (Tim Blake Nelson) and Kazakh officials. Holiday tells Connex-Killen of his discovery and they pretend not to have known about it. Holiday advises Dalton that he will likely be charged with corruption in order to serve as a "body" to get the DOJ off the back of the rest of Connex-Killen. Farish then strong-arms Holiday into giving the DOJ information about illegal activities he has discovered. Holiday gives up Dalton but Farish says this is not enough. Holiday meets with ex-Killen chief Jimmy Pope (Chris Cooper) and informs him that the DOJ needs a second body to drop the investigation. Pope asks Holiday whether a person at Holiday's firm above him would be sufficient as the additional body. Holiday acknowledges that if the name were big enough, the DOJ would stop the investigation and allow the merger.

Holiday brings his colleague and mentor Sydney Hewitt (Nicky Henson) to meet with the CEO of Connex-Killen, Leland "Lee" Janus (Peter Gerety). In a surprise move, Holiday reveals an under-the-table deal that Hewitt made while the Connex-Killen merger was being processed. Holiday has given Hewitt to the DOJ as the second body, thereby protecting the rest of Connex-Killen. Janus is able to attend the ceremony "oil industry man of the year" with a load taken off his shoulders. Throughout the film, Holiday has had to take care of his alcoholic father Bennett Sr.; at the movie's end when the merger has been completed, Bennett Jr. wordlessly lets his apologetic-looking dad enter his house and shuts the door.

Cast

  • Matt Damon as Bryan Woodman: An energy analyst living in Geneva with his wife and two sons
  • George Clooney as Bob Barnes: A veteran CIA field officer stationed in the Middle East.
  • Amanda Peet as Julie Woodman: Bryan's wife
  • Jeffrey Wright as Bennett Holiday: An attorney investigating the proposed merger of oil companies, Connex and Killen. Employed by Sloan Whiting law firm
  • Christopher Plummer as Dean Whiting: Managing partner of Sloan Whiting law firm. Member of the Committee to Liberate Iran (CLI). Employer of Sydney Hewitt and Bennett Holiday.
  • Chris Cooper as Jimmy Pope: Owner of the Killen oil company
  • Tim Blake Nelson as Danny Dalton: Oilman from Texas and member of Committee to Liberate Iran (CLI)
  • William Hurt as Stan Goff: Retired CIA agent and associate of Bob Barnes
  • Robert Baer in a guest role, as a CIA officer.
  • Alexander Siddig as Prince Nasir Al-Subaai: Gulf prince who is the first born successor to the Emir.

Production

While working on Traffic, Stephen Gaghan began to see the parallels between drug addiction and America's dependency on foreign oil.[1] Another source of inspiration came from 9/11 and Gaghan's lack of knowledge about the Middle East. He said, "When 9/11 happened, it suddenly was a war on terror, which I think of as a war on emotions. It all started to click for me".[2] A few weeks after 9/11, Steven Soderbergh sent Gaghan a copy of ex-CIA officer Robert Baer's memoir, See No Evil.[3] The screenwriter read the book and wanted to turn it into a film because it added another layer to the story that Gaghan wanted to tell.[1] Soderbergh bought the rights to See No Evil and negotiated the deal with Warner Bros.[4]

Gaghan met Baer for lunch and then, for six weeks in 2002, the two men traveled from Washington to Geneva to the French Riviera to Lebanon, Syria and Dubai, meeting with lobbyists, arms dealers, oil traders, Arab officials and the spiritual leader of Hezbollah.[3] Meeting Baer, Gaghan realized that the man had "gone out there and done and seen things that he was not allowed to talk about, and wouldn't, but he was angry about and also trying to make amends for".[3] Before any filming took place, Gaghan convinced Warner Bros. to give him an unlimited research budget and no deadline.[4] He did his own legwork, meeting with oil traders in London and lawyers in Washington, D.C. Moments after arriving in Beirut in 2002, Gaghan was taken from the airport in a blindfold and hood where he met with Sheik Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, who was interested in films. He decided to grant the writer an audience even though he had not requested one. In addition, Gaghan dined with men suspected of killing former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and met with Former Defense Policy board chairman Richard Perle.[4]

Gaghan has cited as influences on Syriana, European films like Roberto Rossellini's Rome, Open City, Costa Gavras' Z, and Gillo Pontecorvo's The Battle of Algiers.[5]

Casting

Harrison Ford turned down the role of Robert Barnes (the role played by George Clooney), regretting it later, stating, "I didn't feel strongly enough about the truth of the material and I think I made a mistake".[6] This is the second Stephen Gaghan-written role Ford has declined, having turned down the role of Robert Wakefield in Traffic, a role that eventually went to Michael Douglas.[7]

Principal photography

Gaghan ended up shooting in over 200 locations on four continents with 100 speaking parts.[5] Syriana originally had five storylines, all of which were filmed; but one, that featured Michelle Monaghan as Miss USA who becomes involved with a rich Arab oilman, was cut when the film became too complicated.[1][5]

Score

Title

The movie's title is suggested to derive from the hypothesized Pax Syriana, as an allusion to the necessary state of peace between Syria and the U.S. as it relates to the oil business. In a December 2005 interview, Baer told NPR that the title is a metaphor for foreign intervention in the Middle East, referring to post-World War II think tank strategic studies for the creation of an artificial state (such as Iraq, created from elements of the former Ottoman Empire) that would ensure continued western access to crude oil. The movie's website states that "‘Syriana’ is a very real term used by Washington think-tanks to describe a hypothetical reshaping of the Middle East."[8] Gaghan said he saw Syriana as "a great word that could stand for man's perpetual hope of remaking any geographic region to suit his own needs."[9]

The word Syriana derives from Syria + the Latin suffix -ana, a neuter plural form; it means, roughly, "things Syrian." Historically, Syria refers not to the state that since 1944 has borne the name, but to a more extensive land stretching from the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea to the middle Euphrates River and the western edge of the desert steppe, and from the Tauric system of mountains in the north to the edge of the Sinai desert in the south. This land was part of the Fertile Crescent, and has historically been a geopolitically crucial junction for trade routes from the east, from Asia Minor and the Aegean, and from Egypt, and has long been a focus of great power conflicts. The word Syria does not appear in the Hebrew original of the Scriptures, but appears in the Septuagint as the translation of Aram. Herodotus speaks of "Syrians" as identical with Assyrians, but the term's geographical significance was not well defined in pre-Greek and Greek times. As an ethnic term, "Syrian" came to refer in Antiquity to Semitic peoples living outside Mesopotamian and Arabian areas. Greco-Roman administrations were the first to apply the term to a definite district.[10]

Reaction

Syriana was released on November 23, 2005 in limited release in only five theaters grossing $374,502 on its opening weekend. It went into wide release on December 9, 2005 in 1,752 theaters grossing $11.7 million on that weekend. It went on to make $50.8 million in North America and $43.1 million in the rest of the world for a worldwide total of $93.9 million.[11]

Critical reception

Syriana received generally very positive reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film received 74% overall approval from critics, and a 87% from the "Cream of the Crop". The film also received a 76% ("Generally favorable reviews") on Metacritic. As a motion picture, the main criticism, even among reviewers who praised the film, was the confusion created by following numerous stories. Most critics stated that it was almost impossible to follow the plot, though some, notably Roger Ebert, praised precisely that quality of the film and offered an interesting hidden story possibility (a covert deal between the U.S. and China involving oil being shipped through Kazakhstan and passed off as coming from a different source).[12] The audience confusion mimics the confusion of the characters, who are enmeshed in the events around them without a clear understanding of what precisely is going on. As with Gaghan's screenplay for Traffic, Syriana uses multiple, parallel storylines, jumping from locations in Texas, Washington D.C., Switzerland, Spain, and the Middle East, leading film critic Ebert to describe the film as hyperlink cinema.[12]

Time magazine's Richard Corliss wrote, "Gaghan relies on Clooney's agnostic heroism to lure viewers into his maze. When they get there, they will find not a conventionally satisfying movie but a kind of illustrated journalism: an engrossing, insider's tour of the world's hottest spots, grandest schemes and most dangerous men".[13] In his review for the Los Angeles Times, Kenneth Turan wrote, "This is conspiracy-theory filmmaking of the most bravura kind, but if only a fraction of its suppositions are true, we — and the world — are in a world of trouble".[14] USA Today gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of four and wrote, "Gaghan assumes his audience is smart enough to follow his explosive tour of global petro-politics. The result is thought-provoking and unnerving, emotionally engaging and intellectually stimulating".[15] Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "B-" rating and Lisa Schwarzbaum wrote, "it's also the kind of movie that requires a viewer to work actively for comprehension, and to chalk up any lack of same to his or her own deficiency in the face of something so evidently smart".[16]

In his review for The New York Observer, Andrew Sarris wrote, "If anything, Syriana tends to oversimplify a mind-bogglingly multifaceted problem that cannot so easily be resolved by a diatribe against the supposedly all-powerful 'Americans'".[17] Rolling Stone magazine's Peter Travers gave the film his highest rating and praised George Clooney's performance: "This is the best acting Clooney has ever done -- he's hypnotic, haunting and quietly devastating".[18] Philip French, in his review for The Observer, praised the film as "thoughtful, exciting and urgent".[19] In his review for The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw wrote, "But what complicates the plot is writer-director Stephen Gaghan's reluctance to criticise America too much. Instead of complexity, there is a blank, uncompelling tangle, which conceals a kind of complacent political correctness".[20]

Syriana has also been criticized for political reasons. Baer's book describes accusations against him regarding attempts to assassinate Saddam Hussein, while in the movie the figure whom Clooney is to assassinate is a benevolent hero. (This may have been changed for authenticity, as the capture of Saddam Hussein took place two years before the movie's release.) Charles Krauthammer criticized the film for "anti-American" views and moral equivalence, stating that "Osama bin Laden could not have scripted this film with more conviction".[21] Fellow Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen called its portrayals of terrorists, the CIA, oil companies, and the U.S. government "crude clichés".[22]

Ebert named it the second best film of 2005, behind Crash. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone named it as the third best film of 2005.[23] Entertainment Weekly ranked Syriana as one of the 25 "Powerful Political Thrillers".[24]

Awards

George Clooney won an Academy Award[25] for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor.[26] The actor was also nominated for a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor but failed to win.[27]

The National Board of Review named Syriana one of the best films of the year and Stephen Gaghan's screenplay as the Best Adapted Screenplay.[28]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Grady, Pam (December 16, 2005). "Syriana, Staccato Style". FilmStew. http://www.filmstew.com/ShowArticle.aspx?ContentID=12969. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  2. ^ Nguyen, Ky N (January 2006). "Tracks of Terrorism". The Washington Diplomat. http://www.washdiplomat.com/January%202006/b_filminter_01_06.html. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  3. ^ a b c Halbfinger, David M (May 15, 2005). "Hollywood has a Hot New Agency". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/movies/15halb.html?_r=1&scp=13&sq=%22Syriana%22&st=nyt. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  4. ^ a b c Tyrangiel, Josh (November 13, 2005). [Tyrangiel "So, You Ever Kill Anybody?"]. Time. Tyrangiel. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  5. ^ a b c Farber, Stephen (November 13, 2005). "A Half-Dozen Ways to Watch the Same Movie". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/13/movies/13farb.html?scp=18&sq=%22Syriana%22&st=nyt. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  6. ^ Harrison Ford: 'I should have been in Syriana'
  7. ^ Daly, Steve (2001-03-02). "Dope & Glory". Entertainment Weekly. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,280028,00.html. Retrieved 2009-02-20. 
  8. ^ Syriana official website
  9. ^ Stephen Gaghan's discussion with The Washington Post in November 2005
  10. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed.
  11. ^ "Syriana". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=syriana.htm. Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
  12. ^ a b Ebert, Roger (December 9, 2005). "Syriana". Chicago Sun-Times. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051208/REVIEWS/51130002/1023. Retrieved 2009-03-25. 
  13. ^ Corliss, Richard (November 21, 2005). "A Thriller That Thinks". Time. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1132826,00.html. Retrieved 2009-03-25. 
  14. ^ Turan, Kenneth (November 23, 2005). "Syriana". Los Angeles Times. http://www.calendarlive.com/movies/turan/cl-et-syriana23nov23,0,7214793.story. Retrieved 2009-03-26. 
  15. ^ Puig, Claudia (November 22, 2005). "Syriana explodes on the screen". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/life/movies/reviews/2005-11-22-syriana_x.htm. Retrieved 2009-03-26. 
  16. ^ Schwarzbaum, Lisa (November 22, 2005). "Syriana". Entertainment Weekly. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,1133637,00.html. Retrieved 2009-03-26. 
  17. ^ Sarris, Andrew (December 4, 2005). "Soderbergh, Clooney and Co. Make Mideast Mess Too Simple". The New York Observer. http://www.observer.com/node/38014. Retrieved 2009-03-26. 
  18. ^ Travers, Peter (November 17, 2005). "Syriana". Rolling Stone. http://www.rollingstone.com/reviews/movie/6165451/syriana. Retrieved 2009-03-26. 
  19. ^ French, Philip (March 5, 2006). "Syriana". The Observer. http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2006/mar/05/philipfrench. Retrieved 2009-03-26. 
  20. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (March 3, 2006). "Syriana". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2006/mar/03/1. Retrieved 2009-03-26. 
  21. ^ Krauthammer, Charles (March 3, 2006). "Oscars for Osama". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/02/AR2006030201209.html. Retrieved 2009-03-25. 
  22. ^ Cohen, Richard (December 13, 2005). "Hollywood's Crude Cliches". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/12/AR2005121201251.html. Retrieved 2009-03-25. 
  23. ^ Travers, Peter (December 16, 2005). "King Clooney and the 10 Best Movies of 2005". Rolling Stone. http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/8952409/king_clooney_and_the_10_best_movies_of_2005. Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
  24. ^ "Democracy 'n' Action: 25 Powerful Political Thrillers". Entertainment Weekly. http://www.ew.com/ew/gallery/0,,20209601_5,00.html. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  25. ^ Singh, Anita (March 6, 2006). "Crash, Wallace and Weisz are Oscar winners". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/crash-wallace-and-weisz-are-oscar-winners-468865.html. Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
  26. ^ Williams, Rachel (January 17, 2006). "Rachel Weisz wins Golden Globe, but Knightley and Dench miss out". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/rachel-weisz-wins-golden-globe-but-knightley-and-dench-miss-out-523371.html. Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
  27. ^ Jury, Louise (February 20, 2006). "Thandie Newton crashes to Bafta win". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/thandie-newton-crashes-to-bafta-win-526027.html. Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
  28. ^ "National Board of Review Press Release". National Board of Review. December 12, 2005. 

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Syriana is a 2005 thriller film about the geopolitical implications of the oil business.

Written and directed by Stephen Gaghan.
Everything is connected.

Contents

Bob Barnes

  • If anything happens to me or my family, an accident, an accusation, anything, then first your son will disappear, his body will never be found. Then your wife. Her body will never be found either. This is guaranteed. Then, whatever is the most dangerous thing you do in your life, it might be flying in a small plane, it might be walking to the bank, you will be killed. Do you understand what I'm saying? I want you to acknowledge that you do understand so that we're clear and there won't be any mistakes.
  • I want you to take him from his hotel, drug him, put him in the front of a car, and run a truck into it at 50 mph.

Bryan Woodman

  • Beirut, it's great! It's like the Paris of the Middle East.
  • [to Prince Nasir Al-Subaai] But what do you need a financial advisor for? Twenty years ago you had the highest GNP in the world, now you're tied with Albania. So, good job. Your second largest export is secondhand goods, followed closely by dates for which you lose five cents a pound. You know what the business world thinks of you? They think a hundred years ago you were living in tents out here in the desert chopping each other's heads off and that's exactly where you'll be in another hundred years- so on behalf of my firm, yes, I accept your money.
  • Great. How much for my other kid?
  • [to Prince Nasir Al-Subaai] What are they thinking *hah*? What are they thinking? They're thinking that it's running out, it's running out and 90% of whats left is in the Middle East. Look at the progression, Versailles, Suez, 1973, Gulf War 1, Gulf War 2. This is a fight to the death. So what are THEY thinking? Great! They're thinking keep playing, keep buying yourself new toys, keep spending $50,000 a night on your hotel room, but don't invest in your infastructure... don't build a real economy. So that when you finally wake up, they will have sucked you dry, and you will have squandered the greatest natural resource in history...

Danny Dalton

  • [to lawyer Bennett Holiday] Some trust fund prosecutor, got off-message at Yale, thinks he's gonna run this up the flagpole, make a name for himself, maybe get elected some two-bit, congressman from nowhere, with the result that Russia or China can suddenly start having, at our expense, all the advantages we enjoy here. No, I tell you. No, sir! Corruption charges! Corruption?!! Corruption is government intrusion into market efficiencies in the form of regulations. That's Milton Friedman. He got a goddamn Nobel Prize. We have laws against it precisely so we can get away with it. Corruption is our protection. Corruption keeps us safe and warm. Corruption is why you and I are prancing around in here instead of fighting over scraps of meat out in the streets. Corruption is why we win.

Prince Nasir Al-Subaai

  • [to his father, the emir, about his brother, Prince Meshal Al-Subaai] He's barely qualified to run a brothel, much less a country!
  • [to his political followers] When a country has 5 percent of the world's population but spends 50 percent of the world's military spending, that country's persuasive power is in decline.

Others

  • Dean Whiting: [to Prince Meshal Al-Subaai] Are you a king? Can you tell me what you want?
  • Jimmy Pope: Dig six feet, find three bodies. But dig twelve feet, you find forty.
  • Max Woodman: I want pig bacon!
  • Mussawi: Rumors of Bob, but never Bob.

Dialogue

Prince Nasir Al-Subaai: What are they thinking, my brother and these American lawyers?
Bryan Woodman: What are they thinking? They're thinking that it's running out. It's running out... and ninety percent of what's left is in the Middle East. This is a fight to the death.

Dean Whiting: In this town, you're innocent until you're investigated.
Bob Barnes: Innocent until investigated? That's nice. It's got a nice ring to it. Bet you've worn some miles on old sayings like that. Gives the listener the sense of the law being written as it's spoken.

Julie Woodman: Arabs are very family-oriented. As a people. Is that racist?
Bryan Woodman: Sure! A little.

Bryan Woodman: Do you understand what that means, it's like someone put a giant ATM on our front lawn.
Julie Woodman: Here's a question. How do you think it looks to profit off the death of your six year old?
Bryan Woodman: (pause) Fuck you.

Mussawi: Bob, what do you know about the torture methods used by the Chinese on the Falun Gong? Huh? Method number one. What's your guess? [pause] Water dungeon. Did you guess water dungeon? Number two method? Number two, twisting arm and putting face in feces. Not interested in two. Number three. Number three is called 'pulling nails from fingers'. What do you think Bob? Number three sound good to you? The purpose is to get the monks or whatever to recant their beliefs. What if I had to get you to recant? That would be pretty difficult right? Because if you have no beliefs to recant then what? Then you're fucked is what. You're going to give me the names of every person who's taken money from you. [rips off one of Bob's nails] Oh that is disgusting.
Bob Barnes: Come on Jimmy, you're not one of those Koran thumpers!
Mussawi: My name is Mussawi. [rips off another nail, then starts punching Bob] You fucking fuck, fucking fuck, stupid fuck, what the fuck, this is a war! Fuck you're a PO fucking W! Give me the fucking names! I'm cutting his fucking head off. I'm going to cut your head off, Bob!

Cast

External links

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

Syriana is an 2005 American movie, which has won Academy Award and Golden Globe awards. It is directed by Stephen Gaghan and produced by Jennifer Fox, Michael Nozik, Georgia Kacandes, Steven Soderbergh, George Clooney. The movie has Clooney, Matt Damon, Jeffrey Wright, Chris Cooper, and William Hurt as stars.

Plot

The movie is about a lot of people doing complicated things. One of the people is a CIA agent (George Clooney) who is angered when his boss tries to invade his privacy. Another person, Matt Damon, whose kid dies, gets a better job working for a king. Then another person, a lawyer, Jeffrey Wright finds out that the oil company is actually not good and should be removed from power immediately. The last part of the movie is about two Muslims who become suicide bombers because they feel offended.









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